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Culture

            South Korea’s culture is unique because it has absorbed the cultures of other Asian countries and made a new culture altogether. Today, South Korea is becoming more prominent in many areas like science, sports, and technology. South Korea swept more than half of all of the 2006 Winter Olympic medals for speed-skating, won fourth place in the 2002 Soccer World Cup, and was the only undefeated team in the 2006 World Baseball Classic until knocked out in the semifinals. In the United States, Michelle Wie, a native South Korean, is currently ranked second in women’s golf. South Korea is also known to be the home of Tae-Kwon-Do, known an official Olympic sport.

            Education in Korea is highly regarded and very competitive. Mathematics, science, and English are considered the most important subjects. South Korea was the first country to provide high-speed internet access to primary, junior, and high school. From elementary to high school, the students remain in their homerooms and the teachers rotate from room to room. High school is not mandatory in Korea; however, in a 2005 study of the OECD (Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development) member countries, 97% of Korean students finished high school, the highest percentage in the OECD. Students typically begin their school day at six ‘o clock in the morning and end it at midnight. Corporal punishment at school is permitted not only for misbehavior but also for incorrect answers. Uniforms and hair length regulations also apply to many schools. Elders are to be respected in any case, no matter how big the gap in years.

            Koreans follow the lunar calendar, making the recording of permanent Holiday dates almost impossible. New Year’s Day is in usually early February and is usually celebrated by eating traditional food and wearing traditional clothes. Unlike the United States, Korea has two valentine’s days, one for men and one for women. Independence Day, August 15, celebrates Korea’s independence from Japan. Thanksgiving, which is the fifteenth day of the eighth month on the lunar calendar is celebrated for three consecutive days. About 12 million people of the population are Christian, where Protestants outnumber the Catholics, and 11 million are Buddhist. There are many other holidays that apply to these religions.



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